Cock fish

Rooster fish (cockerel) is an exotic fish popular among aquarists, characterized by a bright original appearance. Often these fish are called fighting. Many consider these fish to be too fastidious in terms of care, but all this is compensated by their original appearance and outstanding character.

Origin of the species and description

Photo: Rooster fish

Photo: Rooster fish

Cockerels are labyrinth fish that differ significantly in structure from many other marine life in that they breathe atmospheric air like people. Southeast Asia is the recognized homeland of the rooster fish. Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia are the habitats of these fish. Bettas especially prefer still water or places with little current. They live exclusively in fresh water.

The first mention of this type of fish can be found in the distant 1800s. Then the inhabitants of modern Thailand (then this place was called Siam) drew attention to representatives of this species because of their interesting behavior – a manifestation of special aggression towards each other (we are talking about males). It was after this that fish began to be caught and used in special battles, making money bets on them.

Video: Rooster fish

In Europe, the inhabitants of Germany and France were the first to get acquainted with the cock fish, where representatives of the species were brought in 1892. In Russia, the fish appeared in 1896, but they were brought to the USA the latest – only in 1910, where Locke began breeding new species with a different color. On the territory of modern Russia, Melnikov showed particular interest in this type of fish, in honor of which many aquarists still hold a competition of fighting fish, exposing them to fight with each other.

Today, there are many types of rooster fish, but those that lived earlier deserve special attention. The reason is that many species were bred artificially and are hybrids, but there are fewer and fewer representatives of the natural species. The species of gurnards (trigles) is considered separately. They belong to the ray-finned, perch-like. Fish are distinguished by the fact that they can make loud sounds and fly several meters above the water. Due to its impressive size, this species does not belong to the category of aquarium species.

Interesting fact: Cockerels owe such attention to themselves to the Siamese king. It was he who initiated the detailed research of scientists on fighting abilities with respect to the species.

Appearance and features

Photo: What a cock fish looks like

Photo: What a cock fish looks like

Both species have a particularly remarkable appearance. It is thanks to her that fish have been popular for many years. depending on whether a freshwater or marine species is considered, the differences in appearance will be quite significant.

The brightest are Siamese cockerels. By the way, this species is distinguished by a much greater expressiveness of the male than the female. He has a large bright tail, capable of shimmering in the most bizarre shades. The female has a much duller and unremarkable color. The most striking color of the male during the spawning period.

Interesting fact: Rooster fish is freshwater, and there is marine. Although they have the same name, they belong to completely different categories of water inhabitants. Their appearance is also very different.

To date, many breeders have managed to bring out species in which the female is practically no different from the male and is just as bright, with elongated fins. The male is usually about 5 cm long, and the female is 1 cm shorter. Olive color and oblong dark stripes are the hallmark of those species that live in nature. The fins of the fish are round. If we talk about marine species, then they are much larger. An adult can reach 60 cm. The weight of the fish is approximately 5.5 kg.

The body of the fish is very massive, the head with long mustache processes stands out especially. In addition, a kind of bone processes are formed on the head in the lower part, and on the belly there are additionally slightly fused fins. All this forms a semblance of a total of 6 legs, which allow the fish to easily move along the bottom.

Where does the rooster fish live?

 Photo: Black fish cock

Photo: Black rooster fish

The habitat of representatives of this species will directly depend on whether marine or freshwater inhabitants are speech. Barnacles are often found in tropical waters near the coast. In Russia, there are literally a couple of species. They (mostly yellow trigla) live in the Black and Baltic Seas (sometimes in the Far East). But the gray trigla is more common closer to the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.

Small freshwater bettas are found exclusively in Southeast Asia to this day. Under natural conditions, it will not be possible to meet fish in other areas. A favorite place for these fish is stagnant water, so in these areas they can often be found in lakes and bays. Fast-flowing rivers certainly will not appeal to representatives of this species. The only exceptions can be small rivers with warm water, where the current is not very fast all the time.

Today, if we talk about small betta fish, then a private aquarium has become a more familiar habitat for them, where many different species now live. By the way, despite such an active lifestyle and aggressive disposition, fish of these species are absolutely not adapted for seasonal migrations. They prefer to stay in one place all their lives, without changing their habits, including during the spawning period. The only exception is migration in the water column.

What does a rooster fish eat?

Photo: Sea fish cock

Photo: Sea fish cock

Rooster fish belongs to the category of predators. They can consume mollusks, crustaceans, fry of other fish. Also, they will not refuse to eat small fish (sultanka). What’s more, it’s not easy for a gurnard to hunt his prey. He, like any predator, gets a kind of pleasure from hunting.

As soon as he manages to overtake the victim, he makes a kind of jump in her direction, pouncing with special fury. Since the gurnard belongs to the category of bottom fish, it hunts exclusively at the bottom, without rising to the surface of the water or into its middle thickness for this purpose.

By the way, the diet of small cockerel fish deserves special attention. They are very unpretentious in food. Under natural conditions, they may well even hunt for insects that live near the surface of the reservoir. At home, aquarists are strongly advised not to feed them in excess of the norm. They are very gluttonous and do not know the measure, so they can easily become obese or even die from an excess of food.

Under natural conditions, fish feed on small larvae, insects, and crustaceans. By their nature, fish are predators, but they will not refuse algae, seeds that can fall into the water. But if possible, they will not refuse not only the inhabitants of the reservoir, but also insects flying by.

Peculiarities of character and lifestyle

Photo: Rooster fish female

Photo: Female cockerel fish

The fighting cockerel fish is very belligerent towards other males. That is why two males should never be kept in aquariums. They will not be able to get along with each other under any circumstances.

The aggression of the fish reaches the point that it can easily enter into a fierce battle even with its reflection in the mirror. At the same time, these fish cannot be called ordinary. They are distinguished by a fairly developed mind, they easily remember their owner and can even play simple games. Of increased interest is also the fact that bettas are very fond of sleeping on pebbles, just like people on pillows. On average, a cockerel can live up to 3-4 years.

Interesting fact: A cockerel can easily jump out of the water to a height of up to 7 cm. But the sea cock does, thanks to its wings, capable of flying over the surface of the water up to 6-7 m.

Marine life, too, can not be called primitive. Their distinctive feature is that gurnards are very noisy. A semblance of snoring, grunting, rumbling – this is what many scientists have called crowing (hence the name of the species).

Before sunset, the rooster fish likes to bask in the sun near the surface of the water. But after eating, on the contrary, he prefers to hide away in the algae so that no one bothers. They also prefer solitude and do not accept flocks, like their smaller cousins ​​- bettas.

Social structure and reproduction

Photo: Black Sea Rooster Fish

Photo: Black Sea Rooster Fish

The fish are distinguished by a rather peculiar disposition, they hardly make contact with other inhabitants of the reservoir, therefore they prefer not to contact representatives of other species. Instead, roosters lead a mostly solitary life, rarely teaming up with members of their own species.

Best roosters in the wild begin to breed at about 5-6 months, when they become sexually mature. If we talk about breeding at home, then for spawning it will be necessary to create special conditions, since the fish are very picky in this matter.

For reproduction, the fish need the following conditions:

  • warm water;
  • a secluded place to build a nest;
  • twilight.

Fish carefully choose a place for spawning, preferring waters with a temperature of about 30 degrees with poor lighting. Thickets of underwater plants and burrows are ideal for equipping a kind of nest. Previously, the male begins to build a kind of nest: air bubbles connected by his saliva to each other.

After that, he begins to approach the female, gradually “hugging” her and squeezing out several eggs, which he transfers to the nest and returns for the next ones. When the job is done, the female swims away, but the male remains to guard his nest. By the way, he will take care of the babies for some time after birth.

Interesting fact: The male is such a caring father that he can drive the female away from the nest so zealously that he can even kill her.

After about 1.5 days, the fry will hatch, and after another day, the protective bubble will finally burst and they will be able to start living on their own. But with marine species, things are somewhat different. They become fully sexually mature around 4 years of age. Until that time, although they do not live with their parents, they do not take part in spawning and life in general as much as adults.

For 1 time, an adult female lays about 300 thousand small eggs. The diameter of each is approximately 1.3-1.6 mm (including the fat drop). Sea cocks go to spawn in the summer. Eggs ripen on average for about 1 week, after which fry appear from them.

Fun fact: Even when they are very small, sea cock fry are completely similar in appearance to adults.

Natural enemies of rooster fish

Photo: Rooster Fish

Photo: Rooster Fish

Despite the aggressive behavior of the fish, they still have quite a few enemies in nature. Although one can often find an emphasis on the fact that the main danger for them is a person, there are still a number of other enemies. By the way, a person is also a danger indirectly. By draining water bodies with their activities, deteriorating the environment, a person is able to cause serious harm to these amazing creatures.

It is extremely difficult to say exactly what enemies are waiting for the rooster fish in nature. We are talking primarily about predatory fish species. For marine life, these can be exceptionally large breeds of fish. Also, in the Black Sea basin, representatives of this species are not neglected by dolphins.

If we talk about freshwater cockerels, then even small predators can be dangerous for them. In addition, there is danger from predatory animals, birds that do not mind eating fish that can live in shallow water.

The worst thing for a fish is that it has such a flashy bright color. He draws special attention to her from enemies, she almost fails to go unnoticed under any circumstances. Marine inhabitants, who have rather sharp fins, cannot always be helped – it is not difficult to catch up with them due to excessively slow movement.

Population and species status

Photo: Red Rooster Fish

Photo: Red Rooster Fish

Since the habitat of the rooster fish is far from being limited to one geographical area, it is extremely difficult to count them. In addition, a large number of fish are in private collections or bred quite recently. That is why it is impossible to say exactly how many representatives of the species there are in nature today.

It can be noted that in natural conditions much more gurnards live. They are much more protected and adapted to life, while Siamese bettas are almost completely vulnerable to external threats.

But this applies exclusively to the life of species in natural conditions. If we talk about assessing the population as a whole, then there will be much more bettas, because a huge number of representatives of various species live in private aquariums.

Despite such popularity and artificial breeding of representatives, the roosterfish belongs to a species that requires special protection. The reasons are directly related to the encroachment on the fish by humans.

It is no secret that marine species of rooster fish have very tasty meat, similar to chicken. It is because of this that these species have become a popular object of fishing. The rapidly declining number of fish does not stop the fishermen, because the main thing is to catch the delicacy.

Rooster fish guard

Photo: Rooster fish from the Red Book

Photo: Rooster fish from the Red Book

Representatives of this species have long been listed in the Red Book. The reason for the significant decrease in the number of representatives of the species is their unusual color and originality of behavior. Regardless of which subspecies we are talking about, they need to be protected by states. For this reason, there are a number of measures that protect fish from human encroachment. If we talk about gurnards, then their number is declining due to taste characteristics. The meat of this fish is a recognized delicacy, so it has long been an object of fishing.

Many species disappear from natural reservoirs, as they fall into private collections. In this case, the main task that aquarists set for themselves is — bring out all the new species to achieve fancy colors. But, firstly, due to their physiological characteristics, hybrids do not live long, and, secondly, all this leads to a significant decrease in the representatives of the classical species. As a result, there are less and less fish left in their original form.

That is why it is important to work on increasing the number of common roosterfish species. Catching these fish is forbidden, just like killing or causing any other harm. However, this does not guarantee a perfect result. Protecting fish from their natural enemies is extremely difficult, just like providing them with proper living conditions. Due to the general warming trend, many water bodies are drying up, thereby depriving the rooster fish of their homes and dooming them to death. That is why it is believed that maintaining the natural balance of nature is the main task of people.

To put it simply, the main tasks of people in protecting the population of roosterfish are:

  • limiting the catch;
  • protection of water bodies where representatives of the species live;
  • normalization of the ecological situation.

Thus, due to their amazing appearance, these fish attract attention as aquarists, as well as fishermen. It is important to protect this amazing species in order to preserve it in natural conditions, because few other inhabitants of the depths can compare with these extraordinary creatures.

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